Saturday, December 29, 2012

And ANOTHER snowstorm

Most unusually we have yet another snowstorm occurring in Toronto for the second time in one week!!

The above photo was taken at 10 am EST on December 29, 2012!!!

The right hand side of the balcony is shown below - photo taken at the same time.

As you can see - the gap in the fence is the gate which has been left open - but you cannot see the sidewalk beyond the fence.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The morning after (the snowstorm)

Its now Dec 27th, and its finally stopped snowing. The temperature outside is -6 degrees Celcius. And this is the view out of my balcony door.

As you can see, there is Snow on the balcony - something we haven't seen for quite some time. The TV says that the last heavy snowfall that happened in Toronto, was way back in March 2011 - some 21 months ago.

Below is another photo that someone took last night while the storm was raging. It shows the Flatiron building which is not too far from my home.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that you will have a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day Snowstorm

It is now the evening of Boxing Day (December 26, 2012) and we are currently in the middle of a very heavy snowstorm. I opened the balcony door, stuck the camera outside in the cold and snapped this picture.

You can just see the balcony railing - despite the snow pouring down. There is at least an inch or two of snow on the ground already.

This is the first decent snow we have had in the last 4 years. 

If there is any snow on the ground in the morning, my son wants to go out and play. I will take some more photos.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It Snowed!!!

I don't care what they say about global warming - they are WRONG!!!

They kept saying things like "Snow will disappear completely." and "Your grandchildren won't know what snow is"

Well guess what - It SNOWED today!!!

In DOWNTOWN Toronto!! Right down on the shore of Lake Ontario.  I mention the lake specifically, because the snow still piles up every year, way up in Scarborough - about 10 miles away!!!

It has not snowed downtown for years!!!  It's been a good 4 years since I last saw any decent amount of snow on the ground.

This view is out of my balcony door today (December 22nd, 2012)  - this photo was taken less than half an hour ago!!!  Sure the snow is not deep, but it is there!!!

The TV weather channel says the temperature outside is -2 degrees Celcius.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Poseidon's Arrow - Book Review

Poseidon's Arrow (A Dirk Pitt Novel)
By Clive Cussler
Published - Putnam Books - November 2012


For Xmas I purchased my first E-Book - Poseidon's Arrow by Clive Cussler. I read it on my new Kobo E-Reader. Despite the prescence of several plot holes and continuity errors,  I still enjoyed it just as much as any other Dirk Pitt Novel.

The basic story is the US Navy making a new kind of submarine engine using high powered magnets and water propulsion (which kinds of sounds like the caterpillar drive from the Tom Clancy novel & later the movie - The Hunt for Red October (1990). This engine will make for a much quieter submarine so that the Russians and Chinese cant hear anything.The high powered magnets for this type of engine can only be made using elements called Rare Earths.

This engine (being made by the US Navy)  is stolen by a team working for an Austrian man named Bolcke, who owns a number of mines and intends to corner the market on rare earth elements. He starts by pirating several ships whose cargos are rare earth ores. He then makes a deal with the Chinese to sell them the engine that the Americans made (that he had arranged to have stolen), along with the plans and designs which show how to make more. He also asks the Chinese to halt exporting their rare earths so that Bolcke can build up both a scarce world market and a black market (unbeknownst to the Chinese).

When the Chinese discover that Bolcke is stealing some of their own rare earth ore and selling it back to them (selling the Chinese their own ore), they are incensed with the idea of putting Bolcke out of business as well as obtaining the engine and the plans.

When several ships go missing after their ore cargos are pirated on the high seas, Dirk Pitt and Al are both called in to find the ships and try and find out where the  hijacked cargos end up. They end up being caught in the middle of one such hijacking, and are tied up along with the crew.The ship is taken to Bolcke's ore mining facility in Panama where Pitt and Giordino are put to work as slaves.

In the meantime, Pitt's children, Summer and Dirk Junior are in the Indian Ocean looking for ways to prevent Tsunami's from causing so much damage. Somewhere off the coast of Madagascar, their submersible comes across a newly scuttled ship (with its named obliterated from the stern) and a mining outfit that buzzes and eventually sinks their submersible.

Summer and Dirk do escape from their submersible but are forced to swim to the mainland of Madagascar. The NUMA ship that was their base, quickly locates the sunken submersible, but has trouble finding the bodies or persons of Summer and Dirk Junior. However, after a little adventure on the island - the twins are eventually rescued and returned to the NUMA ship. During this time, they receive word that their father has gone missing in the Pacific.

Summer and Dirk return to Washington DC. After looking at satellite pictures of container ships along the Pacific coast, a small clue is found to connect the mining outfit that Dirk discovered in Madagascar with Bolcke's business in Panama. So Summer and Dirk fly to Panama city on the Pacific Coast.

In the meantime, Pitt finds a way to escape from the slave camp and while forced to leave Al behind, he manages to get aboard a train going to Panama city. In a bar, he calls the NUMA HQ office, collect from a payphone. After explaining where he has been and where he is, he is soon picked up by his own children. They go to the Canal Authority where they explain what is going on, and with the help of the Canal Authority security force, a battle ensues at the slave camp. The slaves are all rescued and then comes an exciting chase on the Panama canal to stop Bolcke from getting away, so that the engine and the plans can be recovered rather than be sold to the Chinese.

The only thing about this story I did not like was the extra addition of an NCIS agent - presumably because the engine that was stolen was made by the Navy. This agent - one Ann Bennett - was totally useless in her job. She was kidnapped twice, along with the design plans, and really did not do much at all to help Pitt recover the engine.

Agent Bennett also tried to seduce Pitt as well - and was quite embarrassed when he said NO -  because he was married. I found that any chapters about Agent Bennett were really just plot holes (aka plot bunnies) just to add "filler material" if you will, to make the book longer. The story would have done equally well if Summer had been the one abducted and Dirk Junior was racing along behind to find and rescue his sister.

If you leave out the parts concerning Agent Bennett, the rest of the story actually was just as good as all of Pitt's previous adventures. I was especially impressed with the boat chase on the Panama canal as it was an unusual variation of the more normal car chase that comes at the end of most movies. In fact I found it so exciting, I could not put my e-reader down, despite making plans to actually go out.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars at the Kobo book store - it would have been 5 stars if Agent Bennett was not present - she really was totally un-necessary to the story. 


I posted the following comment at Clive Cussler's website - in the vain hope that future books do not have mile wide plot holes in them. (I used the Contact Page)

Have just finished reading Poseidons Arrow. Just wanted you to know that it was good - but not great.

Agent Ann Bennett was totally unnecessary and really she should NEVER have been part of the story. Other than being useless at her job (being abducted twice means she cant do her job) and trying to seduce a married man (which means she did not do her homework) - there is nothing that she did that the Twins could not have done.

Summer could easily have been the one abducted after she and Dirk Jr returned from their little adventure in Madagascar.

Ann Bennett is a plot bunny with a plot hole, a MILE wide. She was only present to make the book longer to make more money. The rest of the story was just as good as always.

Really Clive, you need to stop bringing in outside characters. I say this because the NUMA team are a close knit family, their members are already tied together by close friendships, and the entire team works like a well oiled machine.

Any new character like Agent Bennett just causes that engine to stall and stutter.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kobo Glo E-Reader

 Kobo BookStore

For the record, my husband gave me a Kobo Glo E-Reader yesterday for an early Xmas Present. I have been busy downloading several of free ebooks and have purchased one new e-book so far.

The book shown in this photograph is a Time Travel Series I have just discovered - the Out of Time Series by Monique Martin. So far I am enjoying the first book very much. There are 3 books in the series so far, and a 4th book will be available next year.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Suicide of David Oliver Relin

Back in January 2008 I reviewed a book called - Three Cups of Tea.

In June 2010 I reviewed the sequel - Stones into Schools

Then came the news that the author - Greg Mortenson was being called a LIAR

Today comes the new that Mortenson's co-author - David Oliver Relin - supposedly committed suicide.

In the second and third paragraphs alone, there are contradictions.

Relin committed suicide in Corbett, Ore., outside Portland, on Nov. 14, said the deputy Multnomah County medical examiner, Peter Bellant, late Sunday. Relin was 49.

Relin died of blunt force head injury, Bellant said. He declined to provide other details.

Noone who wants to kill themself, ever hits themself over the head with a blunt force instrument.  Almost always, it is by a gun or a knife or gassing themself.

The blunt force is usually provided by someone else hitting you over the head with a large instrument - which means this should be called homicide or MURDER.

I only mention this because it is connected to books I have read and reviewed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And I am off again...

Two years ago when I discovered Squidoo, the amount of blogging I did here dropped drastically.

Now I have decided that I want to concentrate on writing with the aim of being published, rather than just reading and blogging. So, this blog will no longer be updated quite so often.

 I know, I know, I already go for months between posts.But this is just to let you know why.

 As for reviewing books, well I do still do that - I just do it on Squidoo instead.
This is my Squidoo bio page where you can find all my pages of writing.

Thanks for your understanding.

I have also started another new blog - called Scanners Who Write - hopefully this one will cover my journey as I find my way to actually earning money with my writing.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I know, I'm terrible...

I haven't written anything here for 2 months and there's been no new book review for 3 months.

Well I am still writing on Squidoo. I have written some new book review lenses there. (see list below)

Lately, I just dont have the energy to write much. I did post 24 new lenses on Squidoo in September but now I am tired. I have been struggling with a bad cough during the last week.

Of those 24 new lenses, half of them were for a new challenge, And now I seem to be so tired, I'm not sure if I can finish the challenge. Which kind of bums me out because I really did wanted to finish the quest. But if I write while I have no passion then I will struggle with that lens, and it will not feel good to me.

Maybe I am spreading myself out too thin, I think. But even if it's only between this blog and Squidoo, I have to be careful that I dont repeat myself and thereby create duplicate content. Thinking about this all the time, kind of prevents the spontanaity of writing.

One bit of good news - I won my second Lens of the Day (LOTD) at Squidoo. This is a huge deal at Squidoo. My lens was on Diabetes and Halloween and it had some ideas on what to do with all the candy after Halloween was over.

I am still looking into perhaps writing e-books to earn money, but now I have to find a topic to write on. That's the hard part.
Finding a subject to write about,
that is of interest to me
that is not already online,
that has my unique point of view and
that will help solve a problem.
Oh well, I will struggle along and persevere. 

The following are some book review lenses I have made in the last few weeks.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gore Vidal Dies

I haven't read any of Vidal's books, but he is a big name in Literature, so I am reporting this as news.

Toronto Star 

CBC report

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Duplicate Content resolved, but...

Well its not so hot now - we have had a nice cool wind all day, which is wonderful.

My Acadian Ancestry lens has finally been green-lighted but not before I removed the long list of surnames I had listed. I think it was the list of surnames that was causing the problems.Because this list was duplicated all over the web.

My son picked up a cough over the weekend and stayed home from Camp both yesterday (monday) and today. He is still sneezing and sniffing (he has a blocked nose) but not as often as he was yesterday. I am hoping to send him back to camp tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hot Summer and Duplicate Content

Temperatures are high today  32 degrees Celcius around lunch time, with a humidex of 40 - which means it felt like 40 degrees. Sure did.

I had planned out today like clockwork, but from the time I opened my email this morning, NOTHING has gone right.

My son had complained yesterday of red & pink and swollen and itchy eyes. My first thought was pinkeye which is contagious. He still had symptoms when he woke up this morning. I had an appointment I had to attend and my son was supposed to be going to camp. Now I would have to cancel my appointment and take my son to the doctor.

When I opened my email - I found an email from Squidoo accusing me of writing  Duplicate content on a lens I had made yesterday. I spent hours yesterday writing all the content for that lens myself. This was done  for a challenge and now the lens is under threat and may be deleted due to duplicate content.

When I checked the lens myself, it turns out that every line I wrote was duplicated elsewhere - but each line was duplicated on a different  webpage - as if Squidoo now says that I spent hours surfing the net looking for common phrases to copy. Why would I do that?

 It's not my fault that my style of writing is similar to other people's. And when filters are set to just 5 words - yes FIVE WORDS - that is not even a full phrase, let alone a complete sentence!!!

This is the second lens that I have been warned for Duplicate content. The first one was locked and eventually deleted because NOONE at Squidoo would tell me exactly what the problem was. These filters  are automatic (computer algorithms), not done manually.

It all has to do with Google. If Google sees duplicate content then Google punishes the copies and indexes only the original. At least that is what is supposed to happen.

And if the filters claim that 5 words in a row means you copied someone else, well then, every single english language page on the web must have duplicate content at some point, because there are only so many words in the english language and only so many ways to put them together. There is BOUND to be some repetition

If more than one person happens to use the same exact common English phrase, then only the first usage gets indexed on Google, everyone else gets slapped with Duplicate Content.

If this is what happened on the first lens that was deleted because I used common english phrases that were seen elsewhere, then Squidoo is going way overboard in its filtering - and NOT responding either is very UNPROFESSIONAL.

If this new lens gets locked and deleted because NOONE responds to my emails, then I will be closing my account with Squidoo. It's been fun, but this duplicate content nonsense is just going too far.

I wont bother to move my content to anywhere else either - apparently this same duplicate content nonsense is happening all over the web. So I will just stop writing online. There's no point any more.

Google has taken all the fun out of writing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Devil's Gate - Book Review

Devil's Gate
A novel from the NUMA Files
By Clive Cussler
Published by Putnam Books 2011
Reviews of Devil's Gate

There is not a lot of history in this book. It's mostly about Technology, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the like.

South of the Azore islands is a graveyard where many ships and planes have foundered and gone down in the ocean, and noone quite knows why.

Kurt is on board a NUMA boat heading the Azores in order to particpate in a special race with high stakes for the winner. The object of this race is to test out a new submarine. 

Kurt spots some smoke on the horizon - usually a sign of a ship going down - and the NUMA boat races to the rescue. Once at the boat, he and some NUMA sailors must use guns to chase off some pirate and Kurt rescues the only survivor of the cargo ship that went down. The woman he rescued was the Captains wife. The captain and most of the crew died by being burnt from the inside out. Kurt wonders how that happened, and more importantly, why did it happen. The rest of the crew were killed by the pirates. Kurt recognizes the leader of the Pirates - a man named Andras - a man whom he had defeated about 10 to 12 years ago.

During the submarine race Joe and Kurt hear from another submarine that gets into trouble - it is being pulled towards a large cliff by unknown forces (Later found to be magnetism). The NUMA men go to the rescue and in doing so, they discover the underwater graveyard of ships and planes.  They also find a cliff of stone with some very unusual properties.

When news of this magnetic anamoly gets out, the scientific world comes flooding in - as do the scientists. 

NUMA takes charge of this science mission, but squabbles start breaking out between countries.

Kurt meets a new scientist - Katarina from Russia. They go on a date in the Azores, and while they are away, the are chased and shot at. They have to send their car over a cliff to get away from whomever is chasing them. while Kurt and Katarina are evading their wannabe killers, the scientists over the graveyard are kidnapped and abducted. Katarina is also eventually capturedby the pirates.

The NUMA ship sails to the Azores to find Kurt. Once Kurt is back on board the NUMA vessel,  he discovers that his team members, Paul and Gamay Trout, were underwater in a submersible investigating the cargo ship that went down back at the beginning of the book. The one where the crew were cooked from the inside out. Their submersible is shot at by torpedos and the submersible is damaged. Paul and Gamay do eventually escape from the submersible but Paul has trouble and is found unconcious and when he is rescued, he is in a coma for several days. Someone does not want Anyone to discover why the cargo ship was destroyed and sunk.

Kurt and Gamay and Dirk Pitt eventually come up with the idea of a laser of some kind that cooks humans from the inside out - someone is using a laser of enormous power. The cargo from the cargo ships was stolen but Dirk discovers from the ships owners that the cargo was something called YCBO - a man-made superconductor technology used in for lasers and atom colliders (like the large one at CERN).

The YCBO was loaded into the Cargo ship at Freetown in Sierra Leone. Perhaps a place to start looking.

Djemma Garand the current dictator of Sierra Leone (one of the poorest nations in Africa and the world) decides that his country can no longer afford to keep paying the insurmountable debt that his country owes to the IMF, so he arbitrarily stops paying it.

He has hired a pirate named Andras. Andras arranges for  36 scientists to be gathered at a particular spot and then abducts them and takes them to Sierra Leone where they are put to work to help make the new weapon work. They are threatened with death if they do not do what they are told. One man who does resist is summarily shot and executed - just to prove the point.

Kurt and Joe are then now on a deadline to find Andras before this new weapon/laser can be brought online. They eventually track Andras down to a ship called the Onyx (registered in Liberia - right next door to Sierra Leone).

The one thing about these new lasers is that they only work on line of sight and cannot follow the curve of the Earth. The higher up the emitter is, the longer the event horizon is.

BUT there is one way to bend a laser beam - by having another superconductor and magnets located exactly halfway between the emitter and the target. These magnets can pull the laser beam back down, so that it effectively turns a corner.

The race is then on to stop the weapons discharge before it hits its first target. The message leaks out that the first target will be Washington DC.

The ONYX ship (registered in Liberia) was found dead centre in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - and away from all the major shipping routes. This ship can bend the Laser beam and DC can be burned and the people in DC can be burned and cooked from the inside out.

Kurt Austin has just a few hours to sneak aboard the ONYX  and stop the magnet from bending the beam. 

The US Navy is sent to Sierra Leone to try and bring down the weapon. Under the guise of  ships and navy planes attacking on the surface, Paul and Gamay Trout are sent under water in their submersible to lay a bomb at the foot of the of the huge (and fake) oil rigs that holds up the emitter.

Their mission is successful - as is Kurt's mission to the Onyx -  and this laser weapon is destroyed with just minutes to spare.

Despite all the techno-babble (as Jack O'Neill - from Stargate) calls it, I really enjoyed this novel.

The next book after this one, is The Storm, but I have already read and reviewed that novel.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer vacation has begun!!!

Let the onslaught begin. School has finished and the kids are now on vacation for the next 9 weeks!!

I am enrolling my son in a camp for 7 of those 9 weeks and quite naturally he is not very happy about it.

But it was that or allow him to do what he did last year. which was to stay in doors all day every day on the computer for 12 hours every day and that is just not good. It is very unhealthy.

About the Diabetes, he is doing good with that. His numbers are fairly stable right now. He takes his insulin jabs every morning and evening. They won't interfere with camp. Provided he doesn't overdo the exercise (sports) he should be OK.

This camp is run by an outfit called Toronto Youth Development and they cater to the kids who are at risk for joining gangs and doing violence on the streets and who come from low income families.This camp is for kids in grades 5 through 8 - and my son will be entering grade 5 in September.

There are 3 hours of academics - language arts and maths - every day, but it will be from the grade 5 curriculum so this gives the kids a bit of a head start when they go back to school in September.

After lunch they do sports, crafts and activities related to science, technology and engineering and they will also go on excursions and trips around Toronto.

My son says this is like Summer School - and maybe he is right - but they don't call it summer school. They call it summer camp.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My son is a Type 1 Diabetic

I had to take my son to the Hospital ER last week after he was so lethargic, he could not get out of bed, and he vomited up the half apple he was given to eat. He has also been drinking a lot of water and going to the washroom a lot too.

He spent one night in Hospital while the staff worked on getting his Blood Glucose back down into the normal (healthy) range. He was discharged the next day with a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.

The family has just spent 2 days undergoing the basics of diabetic education, including how to poke fingers and inject insulin.

So now he begins the rest of his life being poked at least 8 times a day - 4 finger pokes (minimum) per day, and 4 insulin injections per day.

I have started a new blog, called Diabetic Maths, (because I hate maths) and now I am going to have to calculate carbs for each and every bite of food and liquid that goes into my son's mouth.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Storm - Book Review

The Storm (from the NUMA Files)
By Clive Cussler with Graham Brown
G P Putnam and Sons 2012
Image source

This is a new Clive Cussler book starring my new favourite team - Kurt Austin (Dirk Pitt's protege) and his side kick - Joe Zavala. Their team also has Paul and Gamay Trout.

This adventure takes place almost solely within the Indian Ocean.

During World War 2, a ship called the John Bury went missing into a storm cloud while being attacked by Japanese bombers. It was never seen again.

In 1967, several generations of a powerful bedouin family in Yemen were slaughtered by a jealous competitor because the family controlled one of the best oases in the region. That is how they were powerful. The only survivors of this family were the patriarch (the grandfather) and the youngest grandson - who was aged 4 at the time. The grandfather then raised his grandson (whose name was Jinn) to hate anyone else, to use anyone else and to control everyone else.

In the Present time, a NUMA research vessel is in the Indian ocean measuring water temperatures. The water of the Ocean is several degrees colder than usual for this time of the year and already the monsoons are late. The previous two years the monsoon rains were not as strong as usual, and this year - if the monsoon did not show up - there would be a huge famine in India.

The NUMA scientists discover a cloudy substance in the water and attempt to take samples. but the cloud turns on them and begins to flow all over the boat, consuming everything in sight.They show every intent of consuming the humans as well. One of the scientists sets off a fire in the hopes that this kills the mysterious cloud off but that does not work. The humans are devoured by the cloud and the burnt boat is left to float on the ocean.

It takes a few hours for NUMA to start investigating when all communication with the ship stops abruptly. The boat is eventually discovered and towed to MALE (the capital city)  in the Maldive Islands.

Kurt and Joe and the Gamays are called in and sent to Male to find out what happened.

The cloud turns out to be millions upon millions of "microbots" (like the sci fi nano-technoogy of star trek fame - but slightly bigger - since we havent quite gotten to nanotechnology capability yet)

These microbots are being controlled by someone in order to change the weather,. But first Kurt and Joe need to find out who made them. This leads them to a billionaire named Elwood Marchetti and his artificial island called Aqua Terra. It turns out that original design for these microbots came from Marchetti and his programmer named Otero. But these new bots (the ones who trashed the NUMA boat) have been reprogrammed. The question is - by whom - since Marchetti denies it was him.

Eventually Kurt and Joe are led to Otero as the traitor. He gave control of the bots to a Yemeni man named Jinn. Jinn is using them to change the weather so that instead of the rains falling on India, they fall instead on Pakistan, Central Asia and western China. His financial backers are from various countries including China, Pakistan and for some reason - Egypt.

Jinn eventually wants to use these bits to control the weather for the entire planet.

Kurt and Joe sneak into Yemen and find Jinn's base where they discover that Jinn plans to use these bots to destroy the Aswan high dam because the Egyptian backer is refusing to pay any more money into the scheme. While they are in Yemen, some of Jinn's men tale over the Aqua Terra island and Marchetti, and the Gamays are imprisoned. So Kurt and Joe are forced to split up. Kurt attempt to get to Terra Aqua to rescue the Gamay's while Joe follows the planes filled with barrels of bots just to see where they are going.

Joe ends up in Egypt where he eventually manages to spread a warning about the Aswan dam - which has already been breached. Joe is instrumental in saving the Dam and destroying the bots but not before several thousand people died with the first floods.

Kurt ends up on an unmarked island with what is called a cargo cult - a group of people who were heavily influenced by WW2 soldiers and continue to live life as if the war was still ongoing. It turns out that the ship John Bury ended up on this island. It was carrying a weapon that was supposed to defend against Japanese invaders. The surviving crew of the John Bury taught the local people much about American life, history, and culture at that time (1942) and then when they died they were buried. The locals have been waiting for more American visitors ever since. Once Kurt is able to reassure the people that he is indeed American, he asks them for their help. They send 5 boats of men plus the weapon (from the John Bury) and use it to defeat Jinn and his men on the Aqua Terra.

I enjoyed this story very much. The science behind how storms form, and other meteorological phenomena was fascinating.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Anne of Green Gables - REMAKE

For those of us who remember the epic and iconic 1980's miniseries about Anne Shirley starring Megan Follows, Jonathan Crombie and Colleen Dewhurst, well you need not wait any more. It's been 27 years since that first miniseries was aired on TV, and it has been decided that it is time for a REMAKE to be made.

I still remember that miniseries. Gosh am I really that old?
In 1985 I would have been 21 years old. So 21 plus 27 is 48.
Yep I am really that old already. *sigh*.

This photo is the first time we all remember seeing Megan Follows as Anne of Green Gables in 1985.

This next photo is Anne Shirley in a movie made in 2008 - based on the Book - Before Green Gables - published in 2008 to celebrate the centenary of the original book - Anne of Green Gables. This young actress's name is Hannah Endicott-Douglas

Anne of Green Gables will be remade as a 13 part TV series by Breakthrough Entertainment. They have been hired by the heirs of L M Montgomery. The series is slated to be made in the summer of 2013.

I wonder who the next Anne of Green Gables will be?

Below are some posts I wrote on this blog back in 2008 about the books and the centenary.

Before Green Gables Book Review

Anne of Green Gables - A New Beginning - the 2008 movie based on Before Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables celebrates its Centenary in 2008

4 of the AOGG books I read and reviewed in 2008

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Bride Quartet - Book Reviews

The Bridal Quartet
by Nora Roberts
Berkeley Publishing 2009 - 2010

Now I don't normally read Nora Roberts, but every now and then I feel like reading a romance without it being a formulaic Harlequin romance. So I like reading Nora Roberts. I especially like reading her trilogies and series. They always have some continuity to them. Up until now, the only series of Nora Roberts I have read are the Sign of Seven series and The Key series. 

Two days ago I picked up 3 out of 4 books in the Bridal Quartet series from my local library. The 4th book is on reserve at the library. But I have read enough and know enough about the characters to know who matches up with whom - especially since all the characters (both men and women) are part of all the stories.

In Greenwich Connecticut there is a business called VOWS - an event management company specialising in weddings. There are 4 women in this business - all business partners. Each women has their own skills and expertise that they bring to the business. VOWS offers a full service wedding including the venue, the reception and the dancing - all in one place.

Parker Brown is the Administrator. She runs the administrative side, manages all the minutae and smoothes the ruffled feathers of the clients.She arranges the limo, books the marriage celebrant, does the books, and times everything right down to the minute. She has brown hair.
Mackenzie Elliot is the Photographer. She takes all the photos, and makes up the wedding album after the wedding is over. She has red hair and green eyes.
Emma Grant is the Florist. She does all the flower arrangements, the bouquets and managers all other floral related requests - right down to the exact colours. She has dark hair.
Laurel MacBane is the Chef. She is a fully qualified, Parisian trained Pastry Chef. She makes the wedding cakes and all the other desserts, the hors d'ouevres, the finger foods, the buffet meals and whatever else the client wants in the way of food. She has blonde hair.

Each books covers 3 months - and altogether they cover a full 12 months - from January to December in one calendar  year. In that 12 months, each of the 4 girls finds their soulmate and becomes engaged. Each book is about one girl and their relationship

The books are - in order...

Vision in White - Mackenzie Elliot - January to March - The Photographer with the Teacher.

These girls are family - they have been best friends since they were in grade school. They have been playing pretend weddings since they were 8 years old. Mackenzie got into photography after her father gave her a camera when she was 8 and she took a picture of her 3 friends playing at weddings and a blue butterfly landed on the bouquet just as the shutter was pressed. That was the epiphany for Mac.

Mac doesn't believe in marriage on a personal level. Her parents divorced when she was 4 and they have both been married several times since. Her mother (Linda) was raised to be the centre of her universe and cannot seem to cope without a man in her life. When she doesn't have a man she expects Mackenzie to look after her and pay her some attention, and pay all her bills as well - just like a parent would. Linda has a different man on her arm ever week. She (Linda) gets very upset when a man tell her she is being selfish and thinking only of herself and not of anyone else. Everytime a man walks away from Linda, she has a breakdown and expects Mackenzie to pay attention to her. Definitely some emotional abuse.

When Mackenzie meets Carter MacGuire, they click. Well actually he clicks with her because he has had a crush on her since high school and that was more than 10 years earlier. Slowly Mackenzie learns to say NO to Linda, to trust in Carter and to accept that that fluttering feeling in her heart is true love. she also learns that she can trust his love for her to be real and that it wont easily fade away.

Bed of Roses - Emmaline Grant -  April to June - The Florist with the Architect

Jack's parents divorced when he was a child. Like all children, he desperately wanted his parents to get back together again. Whenever he was with his dad, he hated the fact that his dad's girlfriends would literally leave all their personal belongings all over his fathers house as if to claim ownership. He hated seeing women's makeup and feminine hygiene products in the bathroom, women's underwear in the laundry and women's clothes on his fathers bed.

As a result, when he grew up, he never invited any female back to his own apartment.  He always took them out or went back to their place after the romantic dinner or movie, or show, no matter if his place was closer or not.

Emmaline has had a crush on Jack for many years (he was a close friend of Del Brown's - they had met at Yale University), and so Jack was always part of the VOWS "family". As he and Emma began to get closer and closer, he resisted taking Emma back to his apartment. He always preferred to come to Emma's house on the Brown estate (where VOWS was located) and stay the night there. Whenever he left his jacket behind,  he would always insist on coming back to collect it.

One night he took Emma for a romantic weekend to New York, They stayed at the Waldorf Hotel, took in a show on Broadway and had a romantic dinner. When Emma was called back to Greenwich for a VOWS emergency, she promised to make things up to Jack for ruining the weekend.

So a day or two later, Emma gathered some planters, some food, and drink, borrowed a spare key from a neighbour (since Jack had not yet given her a spare key -  a sign of his commitment phobic problem) and settled into Jack's kitchen with the intention of cooking up a fancy meal for Jack to say thank you for the lovely New York trip.

When Jack arrived home from work that evening, he was hot, tired, smelly and he wanted a shower. He also hated the fact that she had invaded his space without his permission. The breaking point was when Jack picked up the spare keys (that Emma had borrowed) and put them in his pocket. Emma interpreted this action to mean that she would never get a key so she would never be welcome in his apartment.

Emma was in pain and she erupted She told him that she was in love with him, and that she wanted to more from him - she wanted marriage, kids, a house with a picket fence - the whole nine yards. But he clearly did not trust her and he did not want to commit himself to her so she was going to leave.Emma stormed out telling him to stay away from her. She needed to go home and have some space and forget about him as he clearly did not trust her.

Jack went to see Del. Jack explained what happened - of how he came home to find Emma in his kitchen, and how he had a headache and all he wanted was a shower.

Del - I didn't know you gave her a key. Major Step for you
Jack - I didn't. I hadn't. She got it from Michelle (the neighbour)
Del - Uh-Oh. Infiltrated your frontlines, did she?
Jack - Is that how I am? Come on!
Del - That's exactly how you are with women.
Jack - And that makes me a monster. a psycho?
Del - No. A little phobic maybe.

Now he knows what it is like when she is not part of his life. The last time he had this feeling of devastation at his world turning upside down was when his parents had sat him down to say they were getting a divorce.

It took her 10 days to get to the point where she would even talk to Jack. In the meantime, Jack was not allowed to speak to her, call her, email her or even ask about her.

When she finally agreed to speak to him, he crawled back. Emma apologised for the bad way in which she had behaved and and now she just wants to be friends.

Jack - Is that what you want, Emma.
Emma - Yes it's what I want.
Jack - OK then, I guess we talk about what I want now.

Jack drags Emma out into the gardens where he explains why he refused to allow her into his heart, but now that he has experienced life without her in it, his life was no longer worth living without her and he wanted her in his life forever. He finally told her that he loved her, (something he had been very careful not to say before).

He asked her to marry him and then he began dancing with her - doing a waltz in the garden in the moonlight.
One of Emma's childhood dreams had been for her lover to propose to her in the garden while dancing a waltz. Jack fulfilled that dream, so of course she said yes.

Savor the Moment - Laurel McBane - July to September - The Chef with the Lawye.

Laurel McBane's family went from being well-off to poor after her father had trouble with the IRS. Laurel had to struggle to save to attend a good culinary school, and it was only with the help of the Brown Family - as in The Browns of Connecticut - was she able to manage it. Like the others Laurel played pretend weddings with her friends as a child,

Laurel had always had a crush on Delaney Brown - one of the Browns of Connecticut. Del was from a rather wealthy family. He grew up to become a lawyer. He has a younger sister - named Parker Brown - also one of the Browns of Connecticut. Parker is one of Laurel's best friends from childhood. It was Parker's idea to start up the wedding planning business. Delaney is the business lawyer and also personal lawyer for each of the 4 women. So Laurel has known him for most of her life.

In the months from June to September the feelings between Delaney and Laurel become obvious and they eventually have to admit their feelings to themselves and to each other. But not before Laurel has a bust up with Del about him paying for her share of the groceries. He wants to reimburse her. Laurel thinks it means she's being paid just to be the hired help. Once they get the matter of finances out of the way, they can finally admit to each other how they feel.

 Happy Ever After - Parker Brown - October to December - The Administrator with the Mechanic.

 When Parker Brown has a near miss on the road in rainy weather and blows out 2 tires of her car, she calls the business mechanic to come and tow her car. When Malcolm Kavanaugh rides to the rescue on his motorcycle, Parker refuses to get on. But she has 2 choices - ride the motorbike to get to her meeting on time, or wait for the tow truck to take her home and miss the meeting altogether.

So Parker changes her life when she accepts a ride on the back of a motorcycle with Malcolm Kavanaugh. Their chemistry upsets Parker. She doesnt have time to fall in love and he is intrigued her her. He wants to know how she works so he shows up at the VOWS business whenever he can to help out - especially when there is a wedding involved. Slowly Malcolm starts courting her.

Unknown to Parker, both she and Malcolm have similar histories. Parker and Delany's parents were killed in a huge crash and died. Malcolm was also involved in a crash (a movie stunt that went badly wrong) and while he survived, he spent many months in hospital recovering and undergoing rehabilitation.

On the night when things come to a head, 3 teenagers have been killed in a tragic multiple car crash to which Malcolm had been called out to tow the wrecks away. That had given him a flashback to his own accident and he later refused to tell Parker what was wrong. He had the typical male attitude of holding everything in, while Parker was a typical woman - it feels better to talk about it. She confronts him at his business and has it out with him. Finally they both really talk.

Malcolm finally tells Parker about some of his abusive relatives and his childhood when he was abused. He would rather not talk about it, but she needs to know, in order to know him, because that abuse has made him the way he is. Oh, Malcolm is not abusive. But he huirts easily - even if he doesnt not want to admit it - and he shuts down easily too. Parker needs to know why so she can understand how he deals with emotion.

In making up, Malcolm buys Parker a "make-up" gift. Most men in this situation would buy either flowers or lingerie. Malcolm knows his Parker and instead, he bought her a new pair of shoes.

In December Mac and Carter finally get married - since they were the first to get engaged. At their wedding, Malcolm finally proposes to Parker.

"We'll tell them tomorrow, so we don't take any shine off." Malcolm says after Parker accepts.

Yes, Malcolm really does know how Parker works now.

Emma and Jack are set to get married the following April, Laurel and Delaney the following June. No date is set for Parker and Malcolm yet, but then they have only just gotten engaged.

The Birthdays are over for another year

Well we all got through our birthdays this month. My spouse went to see a movie. I purchased one book for myself. I have not finished reading it yet.

My sons birthday is today and he is now 10 years old. It's a major milestone to get your kids into double digits!  Height wise he is very tall for his age . He is currently 5 feet 2 inches tall - and I am 5 feet 4!!!!

He got a video game for his birthday - purchased and in use since the beginning of the month. It was his choice not to wait for his birthday.

But I also purchased a set of  Hunger Games books from the school Scholastic catalogue - something else he asked for. They haven't arrived yet so that's another birthday present when they do show up.

Edited to Add - the Hunger Games Books finally showed up in Early June

Back in April my sons grade 4 class was given a project to do. They had to make a medieval castle and include one means of attack or defence. They also had to do some research to answer some questions about their castle.

So my son and his daddy spent a week making this castle. The defence they chose to do was the drawbridge - mostly because it is the easiest. But that meant they had to draw a moat around this castle as well.

Then my son and I sat down at the computer, did the research and answered the questions.  The research included information and details on how the moat and drawbridge together defend the castle.

He took the castle to school in early May and yesterday he brought it home. Each child had to do a presentation to the class on their castle and research. My son said that he got an A- for his presentation and his castle. I am so pleased about that.

All in all - this month was a pretty good birthday month. 

Photo source - Personal photos - Copyright to Bibliohistoria

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Author & Illustrator Maurice Sendak died last week

Some of you are probably asking - Who the heck is Maurice Sendak??

He was the author and illustrator of one of the most famous children's books ever published.

He wrote and illustrated the children's book - Where the Wild Things Are.

It was first published in 1964 - the year I was born. And yes, I distinctly remember having a copy of this book in  my home when I was a child.

Sendak also illustrated the Canadian children's TV cartoon series called Little Bear based on the books written by  Else Holmelund Minarik. Little Bear was one of my favourite TV series to watch when my son was a toddler. I loved Little Bear. 

Information and Image Source - Maurice Sendak died today after suffering a stroke last week

Image and Info source

Monday, April 30, 2012

My Son has the Raffles Lucky Gene

For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember me writing about my son winning a large teddy bear for the school raffle back in April 2010.

Well, last week, I gave my son $2 to buy more raffle tickets, and guess what!!!

Today he  came home with yet another Prize. This was a large stuffed toy sheep - about 18 inches tall by 15 inches wide.

And being 2 years older, my son no longer wants to be photographed holding this sheep.

So I have had to take a picture of the sheep - now named Sheepie - for the record.

There is a huge difference between being in grade 2 and being in grade 4. 

When my son was in grade 2 he was proud to hold Carrots (the large teddy bear ) and show him off to the world wide web.

Now that he is in grade 4, he no longer wants to do that. He was adamant he would not hold a stuffed sheep in front of the camera. The sheep was allowed to have his photo taken, but not its owner!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Update on my flu - I feel terrible.....

I developed an ear ache over the weekend. I couldn't do anything other than take some tylenol for the pain in my jawline. It was killing me.

Anyway, this morning, as soon as my son went off to school, I left to go see the doctor. She says I have an infection in my right ear, (which happens to be my good ear - the one I hear the best with). My temperature was still 37.1 - which is practically close to normal.

So she prescribed me some antibiotics. I picked those up on my way home and am now taking a 500 mg tablet, 3 times per day for the next 10 days.

 There is no more pain in my jaw after taking 3 pills already, but I still feel achy all over. And it really hurts in my chest and face to cough. I have the horribly loud hacking cough too. And I am coughing up that disgusting yellow phlegm again - but fortunately it is only in small amounts.

Oh and my mouth is very dry too. Not sure why but it must have something to do with the earache as my saliva was going completely dry before I started taking these antibiotics.

I know you don't really want to read details - but I want to document my illness.

Edited to Add (ETA)
I had this link sent to me as a FYI.
Cost of the Flu
I am not embedding it because I don't agree with everything it says, but it is somewhat informative.

Friday, April 20, 2012

April is most definitely Flu season the Northern Hemisphere anyway.

 This month of April 2012 has been most wretched for me.

In the days before Easter (from April 6-9) I developed a sore throat and lost my voice. Over Easter I was coughing badly - mostly trying to cough up Phlegm - that's the thick yellow stuff. I know its disgusting to mention or think about, but its a fact of life when you have a cold. My sinuses stayed clear, I could breathe quite easily and I felt pretty good for most of the time - other than the sore throat and having a hoarse voice.

I have Skype chats with my family back in New Zealand on Fridays and 2 weeks ago today I couldn't talk very long because I felt so bad, my voice was hoarse and my throat was sore.

 The week after Easter the cough slowly disappeared and I was definitely getting better. Last weeks chat to my family on skype was much better - my voice was back definitely to normal.

 BUT - blow me down if this week I did not develop ANOTHER sore throat. Now I have different symptoms. So right now (as I type this) I am sneezing a lot - like every 5 minutes - and my nose is constantly running. So it is very sore because I have to keep blowing and wiping it.

I think this is the first time I have ever caught 2 different strains of the cold in the same month - let alone in the same year!!   Today's chat to my family was just like the one from 2 weeks ago. I couldn't stop coughing or yawning (because I was so tired).

Now please do not tell me to get a flu shot. Sorry but I do NOT agree with putting Carcinogens, Mercury and Anti-Freeze into my body for a virus that may or may not be covered.

Half the flu strains in those vaccinations end up not being covered by the flu shot because the medical corporations and the CDC in Atlanta make gross errors of judgement. .

 Its only a cold. Its not going to kill me and I would much rather get  natural immunity. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Toronto Public Library Strike is OVER

The Toronto Public Library has been on strike for almost 2 weeks.

The Library union finally came to an agreement with the Library board (which is the City council committee that runs the library) yesterday and the agreement was ratified by library staff last night.

As of today (Friday March 30) all libraries will be OPEN.

You can bet I will be at my local branch with bells on, to find some books to read!!

ETA (Edited to Add)

I have just got back from the library - and have finally picked up some new books to read.

But the things I was told about the strike, the union and the Library Board are shocking!!!

1 - The biggest thing that is upsetting the employees is how the Library Union has screwed all the employees.

The Union decreed that they would only pay out strike money to those employees who were out there picketing for 10 full business days. The strike ended after just 9 business days so NOONE will be paid any strike money at all!!!

2 - the Agreement that was ratified says that employees with 11 years seniority or more will get job security - anyone with 10 years or less can still be fired. Whether that is without cause or at will, I don't know.  

I think a fairer agreement should have been to give job security to those who have showed their loyalty and worked there for a minimum of 5 or 6 years.

I was also told that the feeling is that the union rammed this agreement through - and basically told the members that this was the "best" they could do, and if they didnt ratify it, then the city council (Mayor Rob Ford) would just fire everyone and privatise the entire library system. 

So they went on strike for nothing? They picketed for nothing?

They went on strike to get more job security. Only those who have worked for 11 years or more got that security. Everyone else is screwed. 

If the library is privatised, then in order for the new owners to make a profit, they would NOT purchase any or many new books, and all books, magazines, videos. DVDs and music CDs  would now cost money to be borrowed. I would not be surprised if they also charged people (and kids) to use the computers as well.

I can remember back in New Zealand a long time ago when certain books (probably the high demand books) were loaned out for 10 or 20 cents, and I just never bothered to borrow those books. That busines of charging money disppeared fairly quickly....

If the public then chose to not use the new private library then they would go out of business very quickly and there would be NO library at all.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Toronto Public Library now on STRIKE

My local branch of the Toronto Public Library has been closed for several weeks while undergoing renovations. It was reopened just in time for March break (March 12 - 19). I had one opportunity during March break to drop back all my books. I was busy with my son over the break, as he had several appointments he had to attend.

I was planning to go back and relax in the library after the break was over and once my son was back in school. Well today my son went back to school, and I sat down to check on the Library website.

 Guess what. There is a notice saying that all branches of the Toronto Public Library closed at 5 pm last night (Sunday March 18, 2012) because they are now on STRIKE. And why are they on strike?

 The City - and by City I mean Mayor Rob Ford  (or Doug - whichever one of these 2 brothers is currently the mayor) - has been threatening to cut services for some time now. That includes bargaining with the local librarian union.So as of Yesterday they are on strike.

WHAT am I going to read now?? I cant afford to purchase any books. My son needs books to read. I really need a place to get away from home and to relax. The Library is my "ME" Space - where I went to be alone for an hour or two. I haven't had any time during the renovations or during March Break and was desperately counting on some library time today.

Who knows how long this strike will continue for.

There are also rumours that the inside staff (which includes daycare workers) at the Toronto City Council are also planning to go on strike as well. The outside staff - went on strike back in the summer of  2009  That strike lasted for 6 weeks!!!!

I am NOT happy about this situation at all!!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to Bibliohistoria

Happy St Patricks day to all my readers. I haven't posted for 2 months - which is shocking - I know!!!

Today is the 5th birthday of this blog. It was exactly 5 years ago today that I started this blog.

So Happy Birthday to me - Bibliohistoria that is. 

Am not sure that I am going to continue with this blog either. At least not for now. 

I actually spend much more of my time on Squidoo now. I think I prefer Squidoo because there is no requirement to update every day or every week - except when you make a lens on a subject that requires updating. Otherwise, you make a lens on a subject and then you can leave it.

I have read 3 books in the last 2 months but still need to write reviews for them. I will try and do that in the next 3 months before the summer.

Otherwise please don't expect me to write much more here.

I know this may be a disappointment for you but - well c'est la vie - that's just how I work. I am surprised I managed to continue this blog for so long. But as you all know, I have lots of interests and I don't like being a specialist. I like flitting from one interest to another but in a cycle.

Eventually I may come back to reading books - but when that will happen, is the question. When I get some money will be the answer. Right now the economy is poor and I have not had a job for 3 years now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Quilters Daughter - Book Review

The Quilters Daughter
by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Publishing (Ohio)
Authors Website

We have all heard of Lancaster County, right? That county in Pennsylvania where the Amish people live? Well, Wanda Brunstetter loves writing about the Amish people and she has written a number of books about them. Almost all involving a romance story. 

This book is Book 2 in the Daughters of Lancaster County series. The first thing to understand is that there are Amish people all over the USA - and in Ohio there is also a large Amish community as well. This community is centred around Holmes County and the town of Berlin - not far from Canton, Ohio

Now because this is book 2, there is a rather large piece of back story missing, as all 3 books in this series are all about the same family.  In Book 1 of the Daughters of Lancaster County- the Shopkeepers Daughter - the daughter Naomi, puts her baby brother Zach down and leaves him for a few minutes. When she returns he is missing - kidnapped. And apart from one advertisement in a newspaper, he has not been seen or heard from since and no ransom demand ever shows up. Naomi's mother had died giving birth to Zach, and some time later Naomi's father (Abraham) remarries - to an Amish woman named Fannie Mae.

In Book 2 - Fannie Mae - who had come from the Amish community in Berlin, Ohio - is pregnant with twins and is having a hard time coping,. She has been put on complete bedrest so she cannot do the house and family chores. Her daughter (from her first marriage)  Abby Miller (she runs a quilt shop in Berlin) offers to come and help Fannie in Lancaster County. Abby is about to get married to Lester. Fannie also runs a quilt shop in Lancaster County.

Abby puts her marriage on hold and cones to stay with her mother. She meets her step siblings - Naomi, Matthew, Jake and Norman. Only Naomi is married with children. None of Fannie's step sons are married yet despite being in their 20s and being eligible for marriage. The Amish dont arrange marriages. The children are allowed to find their own partners - but marriage is encouraged from age 18 upwards.

Some months later, Fannie gives birth to her twins. Abby continues to stay in Lancaster and takes over all the household chores. She seems to be reluctant to return to Berlin. She has not been sleeping well - she has a recurring nightmare about a fire and a kitten. One day she gets a phone call from Berlin to be told that her quilt shop back home was burnt to the ground and that her fiance Lester died trying to save the precious quilts inside. Abby returns to Berlin for the funeral. She then returns to Lancaster County and takes over all the chores of raising the twins, cleaning the house and cooking all the food for her mother and her stepfathers family.

Abby has to keep herself busy so that she doesnt break down and start blaming herself for her fiance's death. If she had returned to Ohio earlier, the shop would not have burned down, Lester would still be alive, and she would now be married to him.

Fannie's cousin takes Abby off to Montana in order to give Abby a new perspective on life. Abby learns that it is Gods will that these things happen and while it does hurt to lose a loved one, you cannot blame yourself and nothing you could have done or said will necessarily have made a difference.

Abby eventually returns to Lancaster Country and admits to her step-brother that she is finally ready to move on with her life. Matthew asks if he can court her - and Abby indicates that yes she is interested.

Interspered with chapters about Abby and her family, we also have chapters about young Jimmy Scott, adopted son of Jim and Linda Scott who live in Washington state. Linda does not know this, but Jim stole Baby Jimmy from a table in the back yard of an Amish home in Pennsylvania and his conscience has been bothering him ever since. This leads to him become rude, curt and working long hours. He is a contract painter - he paints buildings. Their marriage is breaking down and Linda does not know why,

It also doesnt help that Linda is very overprotective of young Jimmy - almost smothering him - and she barely allows him out of her sight all day. She makes a new friend who encourages her to attend church. Linda becomes a christian and then tries to get her husband to become a christian as well. Of course Jim has no interest.

When Jim's father is diagnosed with heart problems and must have surgery, Linda purchases plane tickets for the family to return to Ohio to see his father. Jim is not happy as it reminds him about the Amish from whom he stole baby Jimmy.

Nothing further is resolved about Jimmy other than Jim gets rid of the Amish quilt, the baby had been wrapped in,. The baby quilt ends up in Montana where it is given to Abby who takes it home to Lancaster Country and gives it to Naomi. Naomi recognises it as being Zach's quilt because she is the one who repaired it after one corner of it was torn. So this means that Zach is alive and living in Washington state.

Book 3  takes place some years in the future. Jimmy Scott discovers that he was born in Pennsylvania and returns to that state to find his family. He meets and falls in love woth Leona Weaver - the Bishops Daughter,. And yes the Amish do have bishops.

While I personally did not like all the bible verses and the christian backstory of the Scotts, I did enjoy reading about the Amish culture. If I see books 1 or 3 of this series, I will read them, but I wont go out of my way to look for them.

One reason I like the Amish people is that they have a much simpler life - they live a slower life - almost like the early pioneers did - and I for one would love to return to that simpler life - although I would really miss the computer and the internet in the process.  But that is what books are for. So it's a good thing I love reading too.